Game Creek Video Glory Powers Pool Coverage for 2021 Inauguration
Enhanced security made the usually familiar preparation and coverage like no other
Game Creek Video has played a major role at every U.S. Presidential Inauguration since 2001, and this year’s was no different. Glory A and B were on hand for NBC’s pool coverage at the Capitol, Maverick supported CBS unilateral coverage, and Gridiron was used by ABC for pool coverage in Lafayette Park. But stringent security measures had an impact on operations.
The Game Creek team and facilities for NBC’s pool coverage arrived in Washington on Jan. 11.
“We had more than 30 cameras for the Capitol Hill coverage, with some of them hopscotching from position to position,” says Steve Dolce, project manager, Inauguration Capitol Hill events, Game Creek Video. “There were 13 Sony hard cameras and 12 handhelds in a variety of configurations.”
There were also six robotic cameras from Fletcher, including a Sony HXR-MC2500 on a pea pod shooting high and wide. The rest were outfitted with various long lenses on the main camera platform for the head-on shot of the podium.
“The handhelds would hopscotch around to various rooms [in the Capitol], like the Crypt or the President’s Room,” adds Dolce. “There was a lot of gear moving from place to place.”
For each inauguration, NBC handles pool coverage of Capitol Hill activities, CBS covers the parade route, and ABC oversees coverage from Lafayette Park. For all involved, the 2021 Inauguration will be remembered for what happened on Jan. 20, but the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 had a direct impact on operations, with security tightened and barriers continuing to expand as Inauguration Day neared.
“Overall, we felt pretty safe,” says Dolce. “There was no real drama except for the full dress-rehearsal day, which is a big money day as we get to know the dance that takes place from the president-elect’s arriving and then the whole chain of events. We were about halfway through when there was an announcement to clear the West Front and then the trailer compound.”
That evacuation was not the result of a threat but rather a fire under a nearby overpass, but Capitol Police responded with urgency.
“When they announced to evacuate the trailer compound, that was when we started thinking it could really have been something,” says Dolce. “They were pushing us to get out of the compound immediately.”
Among new technology deployed, Canon’s UHD-DIGISUPER 122 lens was used for the head-on shot of the podium. Also, although a wired Steadicam is not new technology, it did make its Inauguration debut for the gift-giving ceremony, which was held in lieu of the traditional congressional luncheon.
Game Creek Video SVP, Technology, Jason Taubman notes that the Capitol is fully wired with triax and fiber. “It’s just like a stadium. There is a place to roll up a truck and drag cables and connect to an IO box that is buried under some bushes.”
Camera drops throughout the building and surrounding area also help with setup. “It’s wired up pretty amazingly,” adds Dolce.
Hopefully, this is the last inauguration that is so different from an event that Dolce says is usually cookie-cutter. The lack of a throng of millions made it easier to move around and strike the show. But the increased security made it difficult for the team at the Capitol to easily move build-up kits to Gridiron’s team at Lafayette Park.
Says Dolce, “It was almost easier to get gear shipped from our shop in New Hampshire to the ABC bureau and have them bring it in.”